No one goes into marriage thinking “this isn’t going to last,” right?
Everyone chooses their partner and then chooses to publicly vow to spend the rest of their lives with him or her thinking it’s the right decision.
So why do so many marriages go south, even after only a few years?
Research shows that people want a companion who enhances their life and with whom they can grow over time. And in the beginning, most people truly believe they have found just that. But the sad realization is that people change, meaning relationships change as a direct result.
UCLA’s Family Studies Center did a study on 1,500 couples who had been together for five or more years and who maintained they had a strong, deeply committed bond.
How many of these are you able to check off?
More research shows that in relationships with longevity, each person makes that relationship their priority; they put time, energy and effort into every aspect of it. As a result, as these couples age, their relationship begins to resemble the traits of true friendship and close companionship—in other words, they always have each other’s back. And isn’t that what we all want?
The healthiest relationships in these case studies all showed that both partners felt deeply appreciated. Husbands specifically loved their wives’ sweetness and admiration of him; wives specifically loved their husbands’ self confidence and protectiveness.
A very important finding from past research shows that in order to “keep the spark alive,” women need to feel exceptionally secure and special in a relationship (hear that guys? It’s an absolute NEED, not a want.) If a wife doesn’t feel like she is number one is her husband’s life, she can become distant and bitter, prompting the man to pull away too and lose his attraction to her.
In the same vein, men have certain needs to be met to keep the fire alive in the relationship as well. First and foremost, he needs to feel honored and useful, two things a wife can help him feel by building him up and admiring him.
Last but not least, every single study points back to what might be the most important characteristic of all: communication.
We’ve all heard it a million times, but so many marriages end in divorce because one or both partners can’t (or won’t) communicate openly, honestly and vulnerably. Make healthy communication a priority in your marriage and you will see the rekindled passion, intimacy and mutual respect being to flourish.
And if all else fails? Laugh. Having a sense of humor in a relationship goes a long way and can get you through the worst of times.